The National Electrical Code (NEC) is a widely adopted and comprehensive set of standards that provide guidelines for the safe design, installation, and inspection of electrical wiring and equipment. Section 409.2 focuses on industrial control panels (ICPs), defining them as assemblies of two or more power circuit components and/or control circuit components. Typical components include motor drives, switches, and transformers. In addition to the components integrated, ICPs also vary in design and construction. These variations—e.g., open ICPs or enclosed ICPs—suit different applications.
Key Components of Industrial Control Panels
As indicated above, industrial control panels consist of multiple components assembled together. Some of the key components found in ICPs are:
- Transformers: These passive electrical devices increase (step-up) or decrease (step-down) alternating current (AC) voltage as it transfers from one circuit to one or more other circuits to suit the electrical power demands of the application.
- Power supply: These electrical devices convert the incoming AC voltage into direct current (DC) voltage so the connected devices can use it. In control panels, they are generally used to convert 120 VAC or 480 VAC to 24 VDC.
- Circuit breakers: These electrical devices break circuits when too much current flows through them, ultimately protecting them from experiencing electrical damage.
- Disconnect switches: These electrical components are used to disconnect ICPs from the power source. They are available in several styles to suit different applications but are commonly used to stop power flow for maintenance and repair work or emergencies.
- Terminal blocks: These electrical connectors are used to join two or more wires. By arranging them in a strip, they direct power from the source to various connected devices in the ICP.
- Relays: These electrically or magnetically operated switches turn a connected device on or off by closing or opening the circuit, respectively. They allow low currents to activate higher currents by directing the lower current through an input circuit that activates an electromagnet. The electromagnet then closes the output circuit, which allows the higher current to flow through it.
- Fuses: These safety devices provide electrical circuits with overcurrent protection. They open circuits if and when the current becomes too high. As they are single-use components, they must be replaced after they’ve activated.
- Motor drives. This equipment controls the operation of a connected motor. They come in many different types, each of which serves a specific purpose. Motor drives commonly used for ICPs include variable frequency drives (VFDs), servo drives, and soft starters.
Types of Industrial Control Panels
Industrial control panels covered by Industrial Control Panels, UL category control number (CCN) NITW are designed to control equipment in industrial environments, such as cranes, pumps, and refrigeration units. The NITW industrial control panel product category can be further broken down into three main subcategories:
- Industrial control panel enclosures serve as the housing for the electrical components of ICPs. They are generally inspected for compliance with the construction requirements outlined by UL 508A without the electrical components installed. As a result, the finished ICP will need to be re-evaluated by the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) once the electrical components are installed.
- Enclosed industrial control panels consist of the electrical components, the enclosure, and the mounting/closure hardware. They are inspected to verify they pose no electrical fire or shock hazard and not to evaluate their ability to control electrical equipment. They are available in variations rated for indoor use or outdoor use under various conditions, including general, classified, or hazardous environments.
- Open industrial control panels consist of only the electrical components and mounting/closure hardware. They do not feature the complete enclosure and must be installed into a separate enclosure component before the final installation.
Partner With CCK Automations for Your Industrial Control Panel Needs
At CCK Automations, Inc., we are a premier manufacturer of custom industrial control panels. Equipped with more than 20 years of electronic product manufacturing experience, over 100 highly talented employees, UL 508A and NNNY certified panel building shop, and high-tech production machines, we have what it takes to design, engineer, and build custom ICPs for virtually any customer, industry, or specialized need.
Many of our ICPs contain printed circuit boards (PCBs) made by our team. By purchasing products from one source rather than multiple suppliers, our customers benefit from greater convenience and cost savings.
In addition to our industrial control panel design and engineering capabilities, we deliver the following products and services from our control panel shop:
- CAD design and printing
- Customer-specified printing and building
- PLC panels and drive panels
- Remote support for PLC and HMI
- Certified integrators for Allen Bradley and B&R
- Integration of Cutler and Hammer, Square D, Toshiba,Yaskawa and many more components
Industrial control panels play a critical role in a wide range of industrial applications and processes. For ICPs tailored to your needs, you can count on the expert at CCK Automations. Contact us today to learn more about our industrial control panel capabilities or request a quote.